Build a Stellar Sales Team
In business, you are only as good as your sales team. Sales teams are a critical part of organisations, and how we view/treat our sales teams will determine how successful they are. Even one recruitment error can have negative impact on overall organisational results if this new team member fails to secure the lucrative contract the company was looking/budgeting for. On the positive side, a team full of A-players can catapult your revenue far beyond your projections.
Many companies struggle to build the dream team they want and that is usually the result of bad decisions, lack of experience, absence of clear processes and systems, as well as unclear expectations and communication.
Building a sales “dream team” begins during the recruiting process and continues throughout the employee lifecycle.
Here are some very simple first steps to take that will help build the sales team your business needs to make it to the next level:
- Determine the type of team you need:
Do you need inside sales, field sales or both? How many team members will it take to get to scale? What should their background and experience look like? What sort of processes will they be using, and how will you support them?
- Know Your People, In and Out of The Office:
The line between work and home is blurred, so knowing who your team is outside of the office is just as important as who they are in it. To drive cohesion, take time to get to know your people, who they are, what motivates them and what they want out of a career as well as in their personal life.
- Set Clear, Easy to Understand Goals and Priorities:
You wouldn’t set out on a long drive with the family without any idea of how to get where you are going, would you? The same should be true for your sales team’s daily work life. Work with your team to set the right goals for the group and for individuals. Set the goals that will help them grow, and stretch as well as promote creativity and innovation. Any goal that is too easy will lose the teams interest and very quickly turn into complacency and noise.
- Hire people who want to grow:
It is said that with salespeople, you need to hire slowly and fire fast. Good salespeople come at a cost, and you want to make sure you get the best fit for your team and organisation. Even if they had achieved strong sales results in one company in the past, you need to make sure it is still the right fit for your company and that they are able to transfer the past results easily.
Furthermore, when interviewing salespeople, don’t let them sell you on how great they are. You need to see the passion in them. Look for people who want to compete with themselves on a higher level than they are used to. They should be eager to continuously grow and stretch themselves to deliver greater results long term.
- Give Them Earned Autonomy:
As long as employees are performing at or above set expectations, they should be granted the autonomy to own their role and treat it as their own business or at least franchise. Micro managing a sales team can lead to dissatisfaction, negativity and unneeded chattering. Negative news spreads quickly. You want to have a team that views their territory as their own to keep them focused on driving growth beyond company expectations.
- Focus On First Line Managers:
The first line manager plays a pivotal role in creating a cohesive and successful team — yet they may receive the least amount of training and empowerment. Make sure managers are competent and confident to play their roles as leaders, and teachers. Successful managers create successful salespeople.
- Find Coachable People:
Coachability starts at the top with sales executives and managers not only understanding the importance of coaching and hiring coachable sales people, but actually having the passion for it.
Growth comes from continuous learning and this is only possible with the right mindset. Infield and curb side coaching processes, systems, KPI’s and infield coaching expectations as well as support are all a critical part of the framework and cannot be underestimated. Companies that do not embrace this will not realise the success they are working towards.
- Lead By Example:
Drive and motivation are contagious and they start with you as a leader in your role. Success is essentially driven by the team when communication, collaboration and dependability are all active in the workflow. By providing a positive and educational environment to work in, you are empowering your team to respect and adhere to the same business drive that you have.
- Hire for Cultural Fit First:
It’s all about hiring people who will continue to build on that high-intensity, winning mentality that you created when you recruited your first sales team. Hiring individuals that do not add and complement the existing culture could break all of the success that the team has had in the past. Again, this point cannot be taken for granted. It is always a fine balance and that balance can be disrupted by one poor hiring decision.
If you make the wrong hire at the wrong time, you can set your startup or established business back months, if not years. However, if you build a killer sales team by hiring the right people at the right time, and invest in their ongoing development, you will raise your chances of growing your business into a very successful one.